Government stands by the small farmer: Narendra Modi

Prime Minister describes U.P. as future hub of defence production and education in country.

Updated - September 15, 2021 07:34 am IST

Published - September 14, 2021 07:22 pm IST - Aligarh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking during foundation stone laying of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University, in Aligarh, on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking during foundation stone laying of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University, in Aligarh, on Tuesday.

In his first rally in western Uttar Pradesh after protests against the contentious farm laws broke out last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday claimed that his government stood by the small farmer.

In the ‘city of locks’ to lay the foundation stone for the Aligarh node of defence industrial corridor and a State university named after freedom fighter, educationist and social reformer Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, Mr. Modi described U.P. as the future hub of defence production and education in the country. India was fast moving away from “being an importer to an exporter of defence products, he asserted.

Invokes Charan Singh

Mr. Modi refrained from defending the farm laws and invoked Chaudhary Charan Singh in the Jat belt. As the former Prime Minister stood for the small farmer, the National Democratic Alliance government, through various schemes, was also looking after the interests of those who were cultivating less than two hectares, he stated. “Eight out of 10 farmers in India belonged to this category. Be it strengthening the insurance scheme, expanding the Kisan Credit Card or increasing the MSP by 1.5 times, this government is standing by the small farmer.”

Earlier, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath observed that his government had paid ₹ 1,43,000 crore to the cane farmers, while from 2007 to 2017, the previous governments paid only ₹ 93,000 crore. Schemes such as the Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna and Atmanirbhar package had ensured that both ‘jeevan’ (life) and ‘jeevika’ (livelihood) could go on during the pandemic.

Mr. Modi stressed that the cane farmers of the region would further benefit from the government’s policy of giving a push to biofuel.

Praising the State government for controlling the pandemic and emerging as one of the leading States in daily vaccination against the virus, he noted that the State was enjoying “double profit of the double engine government.”

‘Right atmosphere for investors’

“Providing a conducive atmosphere to investors, today U.P. makes news for big infrastructure projects. Mafia and scams have become things of the past,” he remarked.

Over the years, Aligarh’s locks have protected homes and belongings, he pointed out. “Now defence products made in Aligarh will protect the borders of the country.” The upcoming university would not only provide modern education but also become an important centre of research in defence studies and provide manpower to industries that have invested in the defence sector. The region, as observers had said, was known as an important source of recruitment for the armed forces and the defence corridor and the university would help in diversified employment in the sector.

Though Aligarh was covered with BJP posters describing Raja Mahendra Pratap, a socialist, as “Jat Shiromani”, Mr. Modi didn’t pitch him as a Jat icon in his speech.

‘Mistakes being corrected’

Raja Mahendra Pratap was among those figures of the Freedom movement whose contributions were ignored by the previous governments, he alleged. “The mistakes of the 20th Century are being corrected by the 21st Century India, in its 75th year of Independence.”

Striking a Gujarat link with Raja Mahendra Pratap, he reminded about Shyamji Krishna Varma, a contemporary of Raja Mahendra Pratap. Like the latter, the revolutionary from Kutch also fought for Independence from outside India. His ashes were brought from Paris when Mr. Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

The Prime Minister also brought in the story of a Muslim salesman who used to visit his native village to sell Aligarh locks and trusted Mr. Modi’s father so much that he used to deposit his money with him during his visits.

Mr. Adityanath highlighted that the State was making strides in the education sector, with two more universities coming up in Saharanpur and Meerut.

The rally turned out to be a Modi-Adityanath show, with hardly any speaker taking the name of the BJP. So it didn’t come as a surprise that the event culminated with a remix song: “Saara Zamana, Modi Ka Deewana”.

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